Writers

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Jill Roe

1940-2017

Jillian Isobel Roe, (10 November 1940 – 12 January 2017) was an Australian historian and academic, who wrote a definitive biography of the Australian writer Miles Franklin. Jill Roe was the youngest daughter of nurse Edna Ivy Roe and farmer John Roe. She was born at Tumby Bay, a coastal town on the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, a more than 6 hour drive from Adelaide.

Jill was only 14 months old when her mother died of tuberculosis in 1942. Edna’s illness was prolonged and at the beginning of it, late 1941, baby Jill was taken to stay with her maternal grandmother, Grandma Heath, and was there for four years. Jill went to regional schools until, in 1955 at the age of 14, she was sent to Adelaide to finish her high school education at Adelaide Girls’ High. She then went on to study for a Bachelor of Arts at Adelaide University and a Master of Arts at the Australian National University. After a period teaching in London, Jill Roe returned to Australia and took up a position at the new Macquarie University where she worked for 6 years and became Professor and Head of the History Department.